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Ann Biomed Eng. 2011 Apr;39(4):1201-14. doi: 10.1007/s10439-011-0297-2. Epub 2011 Mar 22.

Regulation of the matrix microenvironment for stem cell engineering and regenerative medicine.

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  • 1Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Stanford University, 300 Pasteur Drive, Stanford, CA 94305-5406, USA. ngantina@stanford.edu


The extracellular matrix (ECM) microenvironment consists of structural and functional molecules. The ECM relays both biochemical and biophysical cues to and from the cells to modulate cell behavior and function. The biophysical cues can be engineered and applied to cells by means of spatial patterning, matrix rigidity, and matrix actuation. Tissue engineering strategies that utilize ECMs to direct stem cell organization and lineage specification show tremendous potential. This review describes the technologies for modulating ECM spatial patterning, matrix rigidity, chemical composition, and matrix actuation. The role of ECMs in vascular tissue engineering is then discussed as a model of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

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